Strengthening is the seventh post in a series called “My Pilates Journey” where Mary writes about her experience as she begins Pilates sessions with Chris Blagdon at the Edinburgh Pilates Centre. Click here to read about the first class.
At the Edinburgh Pilates Centre, Chris’ ethos is that building strength should be done to make sure that your daily activities become easier. Whether that be carrying the shopping or having the physical strength necessary to avoid injury and to recuperate quickly. From what I’ve experienced so far, Pilates helps to build strength in two ways. Firstly, through the movements themselves. Each exercise strengthens and loosens the muscles. Secondly, by increasing your awareness of how you use your body it is easier to recruit more muscle groups to complete a daily activity, thus sharing the load.
As Pilates works from centering at your core, it will significantly improve your abdominal endurance and, for those with back problems, help to strengthen your back from further injury. This is one of the reasons why Pilates is such a great accompaniment to daily life and to accompany your other workouts.
If you are thinking about starting Pilates to build your strength, then going to a traditional Pilates studio, like the Edinburgh Pilates Centre, is more beneficial for developing strength than studios that focus on mat work. Having the full range of Pilates equipment is crucial to developing strength in a balanced way.
As I’ve continued along this journey, I have found that my level of physical strength has changed. As an example, the way that I carry shopping bags has changed so that I am now using the latissimus dorsi muscles instead of holding the weight all in my shoulders. A small change but one that has meant that there isn’t a mad rush from the car. I’d recommend Pilates to anyone that is looking to increase their physical strength safely.
Exercise of the week
Step 1: Lying down on your back, hugging your knees to your chest with your chin to your chest and inhale.
Step 2: Exhale, tighten your abdominals, then with control reach your legs forward and arms forwards.
Step 3: Inhale, keep your legs forward and bring your arms above your head.
Step 4: Exhale, and swing your arms from above your head round to by your side again.
Step 5: Inhale, and return to starting position.
Repeat this 10 times.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about Pilates or are interested in beginning your own Pilates journey.